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Monday, April 26, 2010

••◊ Pentax K-7...Green with envy?

Admittedly, I've been neglecting this blog for the last couple weeks while I feverishly finished up projects and travelled. Since I don't have any firm photo or film projects going on right now I'm delving into the technical side of things with at least some good results.

Yesterday Clarence came by and we did some photo tests with his Pentax K-7. Pentax did some crazy stuff with their video mode. In addition to the usual 720p resolution they included a "high def" mode with a resolution of 1536x1024 pixels - what the...? Of course the HDV camp deals with anamorphic 1440x1080, but at least one of the dimensions aligns with 1080p. Pentax will learn some day. They probably bolted on this mode at the last minute.

Of course, this being a technical test day I pulled out the white balance card and Gretag Macbeth Color Checker cards. Clarence white balanced his camera and started to shoot video. We got this...

Whoa momma! Now I've seen slight color issues, but this shouldn't happen on any modern camera. At first we thought - oh, maybe it's the lens because the lens has a slight greenish tint when viewed at an angle. So Clarence changed from a Pentax to Tokina lens. Nope, still there.

Clarence finally figured it out after we started to see focus screen vertical streaks in the video. Unlike the Canon cameras, the Pentax cameras don't fold up the internal viewfinder mirror in live view to block light from entering the viewfinder. Light from the viewfinder was corrupting the white balance and video image. The no-cost solution? ...Thumb over the view finder. What we then got was this.

Much, much better. So long story short, don't assume that all video DSLRs work the same. Now we just have to work on our color accuracy. Pentax seems to have very high contrast in their "natural" setting. That will be the subject of my next post.

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